The Big Debate

Have you heard the debate about vaccinations?

If you haven’t then I can only assume that you don’t have children.

There’s been a lot of bruhaha in recent years about vaccines and their safety. These days kids get a lot of vaccinations. At Charlie’s two month check-up he had three shots and each one of these contained either two or three vaccines. That’s a lot of viruses.

Some people believe that vaccines may be one of the causes of autism. To date, there’s no evidence to back that theory up, but to my knowledge, no double-blind studies have been done on the topic (you know how scientists love those double-blind studies) in this country. Also, I’ve never been one to wait around for scientists to “prove” something. If my gut tells me something, then that’s enough for me.

I’ve read up one side and down the other on this topic. I’ve read for it and I’ve read against it. I’ve asked people who have PhD’s in this area. I’ve done my homework. As far as I can see, people are almost violent on the issue: either they feel strongly that all children be vaccinated or they feel strongly that they shouldn’t. There is very little gray for many people.

I, however, like to hang out in the land of the gray. Charlie has had some vaccinations. We were on hold for a while now due to some medications he was taking, and now I have to decide how much further I want to vaccinate him.

Until Charlie’s second birthday, we aren’t going to vaccinate him any further. I have no doubt that some people will disagree with this decision, but that’s OK: I have a right to handle my child’s health the way I see fit (within reason). I think that we’re a little zealous in this country about vaccination, and some children are at a high risk for complications.

There is a lot of evidence to show that some perfectly normal children will have a seizure after a vaccination. Furthermore, I’ve found that some children developed a horrific form of epilepsy after they were vaccinated. I’ve already been down seizure avenue and I’m in no mood to return. I’ve scoured the Internet and found an alternate vaccination schedule that I’m happy with. I will wait until Charlie turns two to continue with vaccinations. At this time, his brain will be more fully formed and less susceptible to assault. I don’t want to argue over whether or not vaccinations are safe–it doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is the little life I’ve been entrusted with. He rarely sees anyone besides family. He doesn’t visit with other children and he doesn’t spend any time in Mother’s Day Out, Church Childcare, or Day Care. He is exposed to very little in the way of communicable diseases. As we approach the school years, I will begin vaccinating against the most dangerous diseases. I’m going to space out the vaccinations over time. I going to be over-cautious.

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  1. Great Post.

    Noah is not vaccinated, as in 0 vaccines at 9 months. I am another person in the gray area when it comes to vaccines but my gut has told me wait…so I am waiting.

    Due to Noah’s birth complications I am being extra cautious. I had thought about starting some of the vaccines when he is one and the harsher ones closer to when he turns two.

    It’ such a debate EVERY time we go to the doctor…she likes to put the fear of god in me and act like I am a shitty parent for doing “this” to my child…damned if you do damned if you don’t!

    What vaccines has Charlie gotten? I like comparing to other parents as I may start them at age 1 and I like feedback. Thanks!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    My girls have had every thing they’ve “needed” according to someone’s schedule and we’ve been fortunate to be on the lucky end.
    Are there simply more vaccines or are they modified somehow? I don’t recall a rise autism numbers as I was growing up and being stuck with this vaccine here and that vaccine there.

  3. I don’t have children, but I’ve read some of the stuff about it. I think that if you’re concerned than probably the alternate schedule is the way to go. I don’t see not doing any vaccines at all. I mean, people did that once, too, and their children weren’t safe–that’s why we now have vaccines, right? As long as you’re making an educated decision (which it seems like you are), I support your decision (not that it matters to you!). 😉

  4. I can’t comment on the vaccine schedule in Peru (where my kids are from) but to some degree you have no choice when you immigrate. Immigration requires that you get certain vaccinations no matter what your beliefs.

    Luckily, the kids were 2 and 5 when they came up… so if they didn’t have them before… they didn’t get them before the 2 year mark.

    I know that Piero needed additional vaccines to get into kindergarten and Kelly had him vaccinated. Again… don’t know what they were.

    You need to make whatever decision is right for you. At least that is what i think. I never got a vaccine for chicken pox – got chicken pox – and I am still here and alive.

    On the other hand, I wonder if autism always existed but was never diagnosed. How many children did we know that were a little ‘eccentric’ and nobody thought anything of it. Obviously, I am not talking about extreme cases but what about those on the milder end of the scale?

  5. My first son was vaccinated on schedule.

    For my second son, however, I’m going to do the delayed vaccination schedule set out in Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book. He’ll be fully vaccinated by the time he’s 5.

    On the one hand, I think it’s very important for kids to be vaccinated … on the other hand, I don’t think we’re being told the whole truth. The delayed vaccination schedule is a good compromise for me.

  6. Nadine Hightower says:

    At least you educated yourself on it! So many people are ignorant about a subject and just rant and rave without facts. And then some just rant and rave cuz that’s what they do…

    Think about it like this.
    What are they vaccinating for? And what is the likelihood of him getting it?
    And what harm is there in waiting until he’s older??
    You are a good mother…never doubt that!

  7. Small Town Girl says:

    Well, I’m impressed with all the work and research you put into this decision. After all that if you think this is the right one, I’m 100 percent behind you.

  8. Oh my GOSH, and I was going to let my son be near your son on Saturday! Thank goodness we didn’t get together!

    … and end sarcasm.

    I’m one of those people that doesn’t really care. You don’t wanna vaccinate? ‘kay. You do? ‘kay. You wanna delay? aight.

    Of course, that’s effectively my opinion when it comes to everyone else’s parenting decisions on EVERYTHING.

  9. Vaccinations. I don’t know what to think. I know that they scare me as well as the diseases they are supposed to protect you from. I’ve delayed everything by a few months but have pretty much stayed on schedule. I have a friend who has chosen to wait and had to fight with her doctor.

    No easy answers to this one.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey Katie!

    Did you ever meet my sister?

    At 14 mos. old she had a severe reaction (convulsions, coma, encephalitis) to the MMR vaccine. Keep in mind that this was over 30 yrs ago & they have since tweaked the vaccine.

    She wound up a 14 mo. old newborn who had to re-learn EVERYTHING. Doctors said she may never walk, talk, etc. Although she did overcome those hurdles, she does have some handicaps & when you meet her, you know there's something "unique" about her.

    All 4 of us had been vaccinated but only she had repercussions. Who the heck knows why.

    I'm not sure why I feel the need to share this with you, except to support your decision to follow your gut. There are no guarantees in life, ever.

    Of course if Charlie goes to school vaccinations are required but who cares or does it matter if the vaccines are given several at a time or one every few months for a few years?


  11. My son got his vaccines according to the “schedule” bc our pediatrician, who I trust, did the same with her daughter who’s the same age. But, since we were in the midst of the adoption process, we HAD to follow the schedule regardless of what we thought…

    That said, R has no complications and thankfully never exhibited any side effects from the vaccines. His next round is scheduled for next fall when he turns 4.

    I think, as Charlie’s mom, you know what’s right for your child and have done the research to ensure you’re making a well-educated decision!

  12. MeghatronsMom says:

    Just posted a little bit about our delayed schedule. I spaced out lots of our vaccines & my child went to school at 3! OOooooo… I am a gray area girl. Benefits out weight risks; however, I do believe it is too many too soon. We now know MM has an auto immune disorder which may or may not have triggered her ASD. Did I mention they vaccinated her in the NICU WITHOUT my permission? They did it then said, oh yeah, we need you to sign these papers. I never did. Again, go with your gut & you do what you feel is right for Charlie.

  13. Gosh-
    I have so much I want to share with you guys. Jenn, you asked about the diseases we are trying to prevent. Most diseases that we vaccinate against are simple childhood illnesses: things like the measles, the mumps, and chicken pox. In these cases, vaccinations are a precaution. For things like Polio, I think vaccinations are completely neccessary. Polio can be deadly and disfiguring. Likewise, Whooping cough and diptheria are pretty bad.

    Elizabeth, you asked if there are more vaccines now then when you were growing up and the answer is yes. The number of childhood innoculations has risen from three in the 1970s to twenty in the year 2000. Now days I think it’s somewhere around thiry-two.

    Mona, my research has shown the the MMR is the most controversial of all the vaccines, causing the most injuries and ill-effects. We’ve had one round of that one and I’m not sure we’ll have any more.

    For those of you who are wondering, LA has a clause that allows for parents to opt out of vaccines for philosophical reasons.

  14. this was good to read–i really should be more in the know on the whole situation…but in a way i’m scared to even think about it or read up on it, because then i’d have to make a decision instead of lazily and blindly trusting what the doctor tells us…i have so much admiration for you for taking an active roll.

  15. greenieweenie says:

    My older brother had a series of seizures after one of his vaccinations, and my mom says today that they would have stopped vaccinating him immediately. Instead, in 1979, they just kept him right on schedule and he kept right on having seizures. He’s fine today, but I’m of the opinion that just because something is the norm doesn’t make it the best.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    I’m wicked impressed that you did so much checking and found yourself in a position to make a well-informed decision for you and your family. Kudos to you!

  17. White Hot Magik says:

    You I think the are right on as usual, you have researched it. You’ve considered your child’s needs and stayed on track, that is the prudent thing to do.

    In my case my boys had no reason to not get them and we live way to close to the Mexican border where they don’t vaccinate to get them.

  18. Marco had some vaccinations, but the more I read about them, the more dubious I became. I stopped his schedule of vaccinations altogether just before the MMR vaccination had to be given. Loren only had one ( forced on us by the hospital) and didn’t react too well to it. So my gut feel was for him not to have any more. His OT discouraged us too as her partner’s child who also had CP developed severe seizures after having vaccinations. Magnus hasn’t had any so far and I’m not planning on doing any for him. I’ve discussed the situation with a homeopath who gave us remedies for everything they vaccinate against. When Marco had to go to preschool I had to supply his clinic card. So I talked to the headmistress and she said it was okay to just include a letter from the homeopath to say that he is treated with homeopathy. I’d love to see anyone forcing me to do vaccinations.

  19. Being a part of the autism community myself, I am aware of the “great debate” of which you speak. The only thing I’ll say is, that I believe my son was autistic before he ever got his first vaccination.

    So I’ll leave all the BIG debating to the great debators…of which I am not one!:-)

    That said…
    You must do what you feel is best for your child and your family.
    Don’t take any crap from anybody.